Family XXXIII.--Rallinae. Rails.

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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Bill moderately stout, or slender, short or elongated, compressed, with the point narrow, but obtuse. Head small, oblong, compressed; neck of moderate length; body large, much compressed. Feet large; tibia bare at the lower part; tarsus stout, compressed, with very broad anterior scutella; toes very long, scutellate, marinate; hind toe rather short. Claws long, little arched, compressed, acute. Plumage blended, but stiffish. Wings short, convex, rounded; tail very short, rounded. Tongue slender, channelled above, tapering to a bristly point; oesophagus long, rather narrow; proventriculus bulbiform; stomach roundish, compressed, very muscular, with the lateral and inferior muscles prominent, the epithelium dense, with two flattish grinding surfaces; intestine long, of moderate width; coeca long, narrowed toward the base; cloaca globular. Trachea simple, flattened, with a pair of slender inferior laryngeal muscles. Nest bulky, and rudely constructed, on the ground, or supported by grass, or on trees. Eggs numerous, oblong. Young covered with stiffish black down.

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